Sophomore Riley Smyth wrapped up her sophomore season this spring with the team’s second-best stroke average. She had three top-10 finishes and led the Cavaliers in scoring at the Windy City Collegiate and the Tar Heel Invitational. Here’s an update on her activities since UVA’s spring semester wrapped up.
Q: Did you watch the charity matches and what did you think of the format? Did it sort of remind you of college golf? The pros in shorts carrying their own bags, not huge galleries.
Smyth: I didn’t watch the match live but I saw clips of it afterwards. The format definitely made it fun to follow along with because we never get to see that format in competitive golf. It was almost like the pros were just playing some weekend golf not having the huge galleries and carrying their own bags.
Q: Have you done some interesting, fun things with your family?
Smyth: We’ve been playing a lot of golf together since our course has been open since the pandemic hit. Also, we’ve definitely been watching tv together more and just enjoying each other’s company. One of my brothers has been home since March which has been great because all three of them have moved out and with their jobs, they don’t get to be at home much.
Q: Have you found any amateur events to compete in this summer?
Smyth: Yes, I’m actually currently signed up for a couple which look like they will happen. Golfweek actually created a new tournament this year down in Myrtle Beach for both men and women collegiate golfers because of how many tournaments have been canceled. The other big tournament is the North-South Women’s Amateur which is actually the longest consecutively running national amateur championship so needless to say I think they intend on holding it this year.
Q: What are you doing to practice and keep your game sharp while not competing in tournaments?
Smyth: I’m really taking this time to work on things I wouldn’t usually get a chance to experiment with, like working on new short game shots and playing different games on the course to improve my shot-making abilities. My swing coach has actually been holding these virtual “tournaments” with his students where he creates teams and we all play our home courses so it helps fulfill my competitive side a bit. I’ve also been listening to some audiobooks to learn more about the mental side of the game.
Q: How are you dealing with cabin fever. What are some things you are doing now that you don’t normally do to fill your time?
Smyth: Cabin fever luckily hasn’t been too bad for me since my course has been open and practicing and working out is a pretty normal routine for me. However, I’ve definitely been working out more and watching more tv to fill my time. It’s amazing how much longer 24 hours can feel when there’s not much you can do.
Q: Do you have a new guilty pleasure?
Smyth: I actually really love doing jigsaw puzzles. There’s been a couple times that I’ve completed a 1000 piece puzzle in one day.
Q: What’s something new you have learned to do during the self-quarantine?
Smyth: I’ve learned how to occupy my time when there’s not much to do. I’ve kept a routine during all this with regards to school work, practice, working out, and eating healthy. In the past I’ve relied a lot on a schedule that has been predetermined by tournaments, lessons, and team practices. But now that I have so much free time, I’ve learned more so how to create a schedule from nothing.
Q: Have you experimented with cooking? Any successes?
Smyth: My mom and I have been experimenting with a bunch of new recipes. My spaghetti squash bolognese is definitely a family favorite.
Q: Have you binge watched or read anything you’d like to share?
Smyth: I’ve been binge watching a bunch of shows. Little Fires Everywhere has probably been my favorite so far.
Q: How often do you communicate with your teammates now?
Smyth: We’re in touch a couple times a week. It’s been really nice having team zoom calls every week and being able to check in with everyone.
Q: How do you keep yourself motivated with such a disruption in your schedule?
Smyth: I just keep looking ahead at what’s next in my schedule. Even though I’m not competing now I know that I need to be ready for the next event. It’s disappointing to see tournaments getting canceled but I know there’s going to be a tournament for me to play in soon enough and I know I have to be ready to compete.
Q: How did on-line classes go? Anything in particular you found interesting about the process?
Smyth: The online classes went surprisingly well. I thought that it would be more of a challenge switching to online classes mid-semester but the professors handled it very well. They made the process really extremely easy for the students as everyone switched to this new normal
Q: What do you miss most about golf right now?
Smyth: I’m really missing the competitive aspect. I try to play games and have virtual matches but none of it is the same as competing in tournaments. 
Q: How excited are you to get back to Cville and to play Birdwood when it reopens this summer?
Smyth: I’m extremely excited, from the pictures that have been posted the course looks amazing and I’m really looking forward to it. I definitely miss practicing with the team and I can’t wait to be back in Cville!